Relational databases

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Required reading databases: Database design from scratch. Step by step guides to designing and building databases including tutorials and exercises [1].

'Base' is the database component of OpenOffice; here is the link to the pdf:

You can download the pdf from here:


So far we have been working with a small, simple data set but useful research resources are often larger and more complex than this. See for example the Correspondence of William Henry Fox Talbot at or Exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society Web site at Collections like these are more difficult to manage in a single table and it's much harder to sort through all the information they contain to find what you are looking for or to see connections between different bits without some additional help. In this session you will learn how to use "relational" databases to manage large/complex sets of information and you will have the opportunity to model a small relational database.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session you will be able to:

Explain the differences betwen "flat" and "relational" databases.

Break a set of information down into distinct "entities" and justify your decisions.

Create a diagram that illustrates the relationships between the different "entities" in your data.

Use the diagram to construct a set of interlinked tables.

Populate and test the performance of these data tables.

To help you learn how to do this you have access to the databases tutorials dealing with: Database design from scratch [2].


Take a look at the Library of Congress Fenton Crimea War photographs at

Seminar preparation

Prepare a brief presentation (maximum 5 wiki pages or Powerpoint slides, not counting references) on what you have done and what you have learned from this session.

Follow this link to the Photography Resources in a Digital Age Contents page to return to the module contents.

Back to the MA: Photographic History Main Page to return to the Course contents.